Mario Balotelli is in last chance saloon at Liverpool

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We've seen it all before; a player that offers such superb talent, but then decides to throw their career away for numerous reasons.

Mario Balotelli is a player that may well be sliding into this category, if he doesn't begin to get his act together.

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Balotelli critics

The Liverpool striker has had a tough start to his career in Merseyside, and not getting himself on the scoreboard in a single Premier League game is only going to fuel the already loaded guns of critics.

Now, Balotelli is clearly a player of huge talent, a player that can create a moment of genius from a tedious bit of passing football, a player that not only will offer you a spark of magic but also offer you a calm head when it comes to set-pieces.

No improvement

Yet where have we heard all this before? That's right, his Manchester City days. Balotelli's City life will always be a question of what if, rather than a look back on the moments of sheer class. It's a tough ask for a person that seems to offer more off the field, compared to what he offers on the field.

If it's effort you're looking for, then carry on looking. Balotelli is clearly a player that will wait for a chance to fall at his feet, rather than go get it. A sort of 'home fed dog' player, rather than a wild Lion that will go hunt for themselves.

Bad reputation

His off-the-field antics will always take the lime-light now, whether it be cruising throughout the streets of Manchester offering money to locals, or building a race course in his back garden.

But maybe, at the age of 24, he may have to grow up, that is if he doesn't want to end up like other so called young stars, that have seemingly disappeared off the face of the sporting earth.

Alexandre Pato is a fine example of young guns that have gone off to perform at a lower level. The Brazilian striker was once one of the world's most sought-after players. In his AC Milan days, he scored 63 goals in 153 games, which caught the eye of clubs such as Barcelona.

Young risks

Despite this interest, Pato eventually went off the world football scene after several injuries and disputes with club officials. The Brazilian is now on-loan from Corinthians to Sao Paulo, and has scored nine goals in 22 league games this season.

Another example, especially with recent news, is Adel Taarabt; the over-weight QPR midfielder, according to Harry Redknapp. Taarabt saw himself get the Championship Player of the Year award in the 2010-11 season, after scoring 19 goals in 44 games for Queens Park Rangers.

Same story, different player. Taarabt let his poor discipline get the better of him, having numerous arguments with QPR managerial staff, and often leaving the pitch having a Balotelli-like drama. It seems shocking that these two players, alongside many others, have seemingly thrown away a possible world-beating career, all because of their attitude. 

Time on his side

Balotelli is at the perfect age, and at a club where the foundations are there for him to work on. Surely it will be harder for him to miss than score, when the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard are setting him up.

But unfortunately we've been here before and you've got to assume that Liverpool will be last chance saloon for the erratic striker. Whether he will succeed or not, we will all just have to wait and see, whether it will be entertaining or not, well that's a given with good old Mario.

Mario Balotelli
Adel Taarabt

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